Dustin’s story “What, Fireworks” can be found in Issue #15.
What inspired “What Fireworks”?
The spark initially came from the eruption of Mount Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. I was fascinated by the images of volcanic lightning, which eventually became the “floating vesicles of pulsating lights and flesh” in the sky over the island where the story takes place. As the story was taking shape in my head, I was simultaneously inspired to write a song (with the same title) for my band, Tin Tin Can, loosely connected with the character of Sylvia; though there ended up being little imagery overlap between song and story, I still consider them to be intertwined.
What’s your current favorite beer?
I go through numerous beer phases and, though I feel a sour ale phase coming on, right now I really like hoppy beers. Particularly Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter. I’m also partial to Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing Co.
What’s the best thing you took away from Clarion?
The inspiration and combined knowledge of my classmates and instructors, the close friendships, late nights getting to the heart of stories—honestly, I not only learned how to write better, but I learned how to read better. I have seventeen amazingly talented classmates and seven wonderfully insightful and dedicated instructors to thank for it. Never the food, though. No, never the food.
How did you celebrate your first fiction sale?
With an outrageous amount of high-fiving. Then, we went for Thai food. I believe I ordered yum nuea and a bowl of tom yung goong.
What piece of advice would you give writers for the coming year?
You don’t have to write every day; it’s okay to take breaks. But thinking about writing—the mechanics of your story and the process itself—when you’re not actually writing keeps the imagination from atrophying.
Though there are exceptions to every rule, a first draft is almost never a final draft.
And don’t forget to read. Read fiction and nonfiction, magazines, blogs, read international authors, genre and non-genre, old and new books, good and bad books.